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I've just read this (from https://area51.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/10950/why-this-bundle):

I really don't understand this "Quills and Sofas" style of bundling the two significantly distant domains into one proposal. Can you explain why the two together?

Is the phrase used correctly? What does it mean? Please give some examples when it would be appropriately used.

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Okay, this one's just weird. I did a little Googling (while, Binging really, but whatever) and "Quills & Sofas" is apparently a reference to the children's TV program "My Little Pony", it looks like that's the name of a store that sells, well, quill pens and sofas. I limited my research because I'm at work and searches for My Little Pony stuff seem to turn up sites by creepy old men with little-girl fetishes, so if anyone who actually knows wants to correct or clarify what I say about the reference, feel free. Anyway, the idea appears to be that these are two things that have nothing to do with each other and are thrown together for no apparent reason. In the context of the post you cite, people are criticizing some sort of research proposal about "Insects and Reptiles" on the grounds that the proposer is throwing together two unrelated things without making any link between them.

  • The original pairing may indeed have been simply a random choice of a couple of unrelated nouns. But it may be influenced by the fact that sofa is the "U" alternative to "non-U" settee, couch. And whilst quill isn't in the list in that link, I'd be pretty sure there was a time in the past when it was more "up-market" than pen or feather. – FumbleFingers Jul 25 '13 at 15:55
  • @FumbleFingers: My Little Pony is American, and the "U/non-U" distinction with sofa and couch is purely British. But it's quite possible that one of the show's writers is British, and came up with "Quills & Sofas". – Peter Shor Jul 25 '13 at 18:19
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    @Peter: It's presumably also possible that even if "My Little Pony" currently looks to be the main reason for the pairing having become more widely known, it didn't actually originate there. – FumbleFingers Jul 25 '13 at 18:30
  • @FumbleFingers Quite true. In my search, all the references that I found were connected to My Little Pony. But my search was admittedly brief, it's quite possible they borrowed it from somewhere else. There are lots of witty quotes that have been re-used and adapted so many times that it becomes difficult to say who said it first. – Jay Jul 26 '13 at 20:03
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    @FumbleFingers BTW RE U/non-U: On another thread we were talking about connotations that you might not get from a dictionary definition. Here's one. I always thought that "couch" and "sofa" were synonyms. Then I got a job with a furniture company, and at one point I referred to one of our products as a "couch". My boss said, "We do not make couches. We make sofas." – Jay Jul 29 '13 at 13:34
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When asked this question at last April's BronyCon in Baltimore Maryland, Tara Strong, a voice actress who works on the show answered that it was in keeping with the "randomness" of the show. The humor on the show derives from quite a few different sources: Monty Python, I Love Lucy, The Big Lebowski, Seinfeld, etc. The show is created in Vancouver, British Columbia, so it may, in fact, have come from there, though she said she'd never heard the expression before seeing it in the script.

(BTW - I hope they aren't "creepy old men" since a web survey that was conducted of fans of the show returned, with an 85% confidence rating of between 7 and 12 million of them - well us actually.)

protected by Maulik V Sep 24 '15 at 5:35

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